In light of the many Public Safety Announcement emails we have received over the course of this semester—most of which have alerted us to alleged robberies and break-ins in the dorms—I suppose it is understandable that concern for safety on campus should be raised. Whether or not the students of a university feel the campus is safe to walk through can have a drastic effect on how they feel about the university as a whole.
Consider this: a student wants to exercise at the gym or go for a run through campus, but cannot for fear of being mugged along the way. That student is going to start distrusting almost everything about the university, as he/she cannot even trust campus security to keep him/her safe.
However, as I considered how to write this piece, I asked a few friends from other universities about their campus security and whether they feel safe there. A close friend of mine who studies Computer Science at Penn State explained that they receive alerts and updates concerning crimes on campus rather regularly—more than here at KU. According to my friend, the crimes reported in the alerts have ranged from theft and muggings to aggravated and sexual assaults.
I asked another friend—a Fine Arts major at Temple University—about their safety on campus. After I explained to him the several alleged crimes on Kutztown’s campus over the course of this semester, he chuckled and told me that Temple University “has about that many in one weekend.”
Considering all of that, I already feel a bit safer in regards to KU’s campus. In fact, there’s only one place on campus that I can think of in which I feel any degree of concern in regards to my safety. That place is the Fairgrounds parking lot at night. You see, each Tuesday when I leave The Keystone’s layout meeting, the time is anywhere between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Unfortunately, I need to be at the meeting before campus safety stops ticketing off-campus students in commuter lots, which means I have to park in the Fairgrounds parking lot. While I have no fear of the Fairgrounds during the day, there is a certain degree of apprehension in my mind as I walk through it in the dark with no one around. I’m aware that there are a few cameras laid out on the posts surrounding the Fairgrounds, but it’s hard to believe that those cameras can pick anything up when almost the entirety of the lot is shrouded in darkness. My concern is nothing that could not be fixed with the installation of a simple flood light to keep the Fairgrounds a bit brighter at night.
Ultimately, I understand the concern for safety on campus, particularly when you consider the slew of alleged crimes that have hit campus this semester. However, I feel that KU’s campus is far safer than many of the other colleges and universities throughout PA. I am sure a man’s view on campus safety will be very different from a woman’s; however, I truly believe that we are on a safe campus, despite the growing concern.
Seriously, though, put some flood lights in the Fairgrounds.
By AJ Simmons